Batman Begins Again: Kurt Pellegrino celebrates his victory at UFC 64: Unstoppable
Picture courtesy of the UFCDenis Martins: Do you think you got to erase your first UFC appearance with this one against Junior Assuncao?
Kurt ‘Batman’ Pellegrino: No, it didn’t erase the 1st appearance. I’ll remember it as along as I live; I am glad of what I went thru with Drew and I was ok with outcome. I was relatively happy with the way I fought, except for the weight difference between him and me.I learn more from a loss than a win, so I don’t want to erase any of it.
DM: What did you know about Junior and what did you feel from him during the match?
KP: I knew he was a stronger and more aggressive fighter than Braga. I prepared to fight a tough fight, so it wasn’t a huge deal when Junior stepped in as the replacement. I was just happy they got a replacement.
DM: Did the change in opponent harm your game plan for the UFC 64 bout?
KP: No, it made me more determined to win. The desire to win was that much stronger and I knew Junior would put up a heck of a fight.
DM: Would you have prefered to face Wander Braga instead of Junior due to the Braga’s larger reputation? In your opinion would this have boosted you more because Braga is undefeated? KP: Wander has a undefeated record, but in my opinion his competition wasn’t so tough. I believe the easier fight would have been Wander Braga. I saw Junior as a much more game fighter, younger and stronger. If the issues that Wander had are true, which I kind of doubt, and if he is unable to fight in the UFC, then we can fight in AFC or WEC. I would be more than happy to fight him. But I don’t believe he’s ready to fight me. I want to fight Braga, I trained to fight him and I was ready to beat him. There was a couple stories going around about why he wasn’t able to fight, I don’t really know the truth.
DM: The weight class is an issue to be spoken. Did you cut weight from 170lbs to 155lbs by yourself or was this a UFC’s request?
KP: It was my choice to cut to 155, which is more natural for me and where I had always fought. I starting taking fights at 170 because UFC no longer had the lightweight division, and I wanted to get there so bad. I do believe I have a greater shot at becoming a world champ in a weight class I have never lost in! The UFC offered the fight at 155 and I took it right away, I knew this was my shot to get into the division! At this stage in the game you have to jump on opportunities like this.
DM: Do you think if you had had beaten Drew Fickett in UFC 61 you’d stay at 170lbs? Or would you cut it anyway?
KP: Win or lose I would’ve cut to 155. The 155 is where I always wanted to be, but the UFC offered my 1st fight at 170 and I took it, I wasn’t about to say no to them! I had to get my foot in the door. I tried to put on a good fight for the fans and I believe I did. Now my fights are only going to get more exciting. I’m stronger and quicker at 155, there’s no question about that.
DM: That fight went to the third round, so where do you see your main mistake to be subbed on that match? KP: I won’t make excuses, I lost. I’ve moved on and I’ve got 2 wins under my belt since then. It was his night that night.
DM: What kind of lessons you took from that UFC 61 match?
KP: Well I learned how to walk out of the UFC cage a loser. I knew I was too small for the welterweight division, but I wanted to give it all I could. 155 pounds is where I belong and hopefully one day I will get a title shot.
DM: Between your two UFC bouts this year, you fought AFC 18. What can you describe for us about that match against Jesse Chilton?
KP: He was great fighter, he went 3 rounds with one of the biggest 170 pounders out there, Nick ‘The Goat’ Thompson(at FCC 17 October 2005). I took the fight because I needed to bounce back after my UFC loss. I hated my last fight being a loss, so I jumped in and fought him. He was a big guy, but I was able to work my jiu jitsu and take him out in the 1st round.
DM: Kurt, we’ve a ‘serious deal’ now when I mention the others your two teammates who’re in UFC. Hermes Franca and Matt Wiman, you three are from the same category, the lightweights. So how is the Team Armory management for this stuff?
KP: Well, whoever the UFC calls and asks for our manager Joe Mullings tells us. Whoever gets the call- gets the fight. Just like at Miletich and all the other big schools around. We’re always training so we’re always prepared.
DM: What’s your opinion about the lightweight title dispute involving Sean Shek and Kenny Florian? How did you see that? KP: I thought it was a great fight, and two great fighters. One guy was the better wrestler and was able to control the pace and keep the takedowns going. They both have heart and it showed.
DM: Are there any plans for the Batman for the remainder of 2007 in the UFC or any other event?
KP: Right now, I plan on fighting in the UFC as much as Joe Silva and Dana White call me. In between, I’d like to stay busy, fighting in the AFC or WEC, whatever comes up.
DM: Thanks for your time and would you like to add anything else?
KP: Thank you so much for the interview. Huge thanks to Dana and Joe Silva, thanks to Joe Mullings, and my team The Armory, Hermes, Raphael, Wald Bloise and everyone else who helped me out including Matt Murphy, my strength and conditioning coach. Thanks to my sponsors Brian Cimins (Grapplers Quest) and PremierMartial Arts.